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Are the ‘Halachic Temple Mount’ and the ‘Outer Court’ of Josephus one and the same?

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Chapter Summary

The ‘Temple Mount’ is the modern term for Mt. Moriah on which the Temple in Jerusalem stood. This walled compound constitutes the archaeological temenos of the Temple. The halachic Temple Mount is the area defined in Mishnah Middot and is much smaller than the Herodian temenos. Many scholars have pointed out contradictions between Josephus’s two books regarding perimeter of the Temple Mount. This chapter deals with the ‘Outer’, ‘Lower’ and ‘First’ court of Josephus in relation to dimensions of the ‘halachic’ Temple Mount as stated in M Middot and in relation also to dimensions of the present archaeological Herodian temenos. The chapter proposes a way of reconciling the supposed contradictions between Josephus, the rabbis and archaeology. It shows that the area of the Temple Mount as given in M Middot corresponds to the area of outer court as described by Josephus and also corresponds to the size of present temenos.

Keywords: halachic Temple Mount; Herodian temenos; Jerusalem; Josephus; Mishnah Middot; outer court; rabbis



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